Nearer to Jesus

 

THERE are three “now words” that have been in the forefront of my mind this week. The first is that word which came to me when Benedict XVI resigned:

You are now entering into dangerous and confusing times.

The Lord repeated this powerful warning over and over again for at least two weeks—that was before most anyone had heard the name Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. But after he was elected as Benedict’s successor, the papacy became a maelstrom of controversy that is exponentially increasing by the day, thus fulfilling not only that word, but one given to the American seer Jennifer regarding the transition from Benedict to the next leader:

This is the hour of great transition. With the coming of the new leader of My Church will come forth great change, change that will weed out those who have chosen the path of darkness; those who choose to alter the true teachings of My Church. —Jesus to Jennifer, April 22, 2005, wordsfromjesus.com

The divisions manifesting at this hour are heart-breaking and multiplying at a furious rate.

My people, this time of confusion will only multiply. When the signs begin to come forth like boxcars, know that the confusion will only multiply with it. Pray! Pray dear children. Prayer is what will keep you strong and will allow you the grace to defend the truth and persevere in these times of trials and sufferings. —Jesus to Jennifer, November 3rd, 2005

Which brings me to a second “now word” from around 2006 being fulfilled in real-time. That a “Great Storm like a hurricane is going to pass over the world” and that “the closer you get to the “eye of the Storm” the more fierce, chaotic and blinding the winds of change will become.” The warning in my heart was to be careful in trying to stare down these winds (ie. spending vast amounts of time following all the controversies, news, etc.)… “which will lead to disorientation.” There are literally evil spirits working behind this confusion, the headlines, the photos, the propaganda that is passed as “news” on the mainstream media. Without the proper spiritual protection and grounding, one can easily become disoriented.

Which brings me to the third “now word.” A few years ago, I was taking a quiet walk when out of the blue I was given a deep and powerful “word”: no one will pass through this Storm except by grace alone. That even if Noah had been an Olympic swimmer, he would not have survived the flood unless he was in the ark. So, too, all our skills, resourcefulness, cleverness, self-confidence, etc. will not be enough in this present Storm. We must also be in the Ark, which Jesus himself stated is Our Lady:

My Mother is Noah’s Ark… —Jesus to Elizabeth Kindelmann, The Flame of Love, p. 109; Imprimatur from Archbishop Charles Chaput

My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God. —Our Lady of Fatima, June 13, 1917, The Revelation of the Two Hearts in Modern Times, www.ewtn.com

Since Our Lady’s purpose is to draw us nearer to her Son, ultimately, our refuge is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the font of saving grace.

 

THE STRONG DELUSION

A priest asked me recently why it is necessary to speak of the “end times.” The answer is because these times are not just a set of certain trials but most especially certain dangers. Our Lord warned that in the last times even the elect may be deceived.[1] And St. Paul taught that, ultimately, those who reject the truth will be subject to a great deception in order to sift them:

Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false,that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)

Yes, this is what drives me on: the salvation of souls (as opposed to some crazed obsession with the apocalypse). I confess that I am filled with a certain astonishment as I watch daily how evil is taken for good and good for evil; how multitudes accept as truth that which is obviously a lie; and how…

Vast sectors of society are confused about what is right and what is wrong, and are at the mercy of those with the power to “create” opinion and impose it on others. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Cherry Creek State Park Homily, Denver, Colorado, 1993

Hence, I agree with Msgr. Charles Pope:

Where are we now in an eschatological sense? It is arguable that we are in the midst of the rebellion and that in fact a strong delusion has come upon many, many people. It is this delusion and rebellion that foreshadows what will happen next: and the man of lawlessness will be revealed.“Are These the Outer Bands of a Coming Judgment?”, November 11th, 2014; blog

The question is how do I not become one of the elect who are deceived? How do I not fall for the propaganda of this hour? How do I discern what is true and what is false? How do I not be swept up in this strong delusion, the Spiritual Tsunami that is beginning to sweep through the world?

Of course, we must apply some intellectual rigor. One way is to be extremely careful about taking as “truth” that which is portrayed in the news. As a former television reporter, I can say that I am seriously shocked at how mainstream media is no longer even trying to hide their bias anymore. There are clear ideological agendas being openly pushed and 98% of them are utterly godless.

“We not talking about isolated incidents”… but rather a series of simultaneous events that bear the “markings of a conspiracy.” —Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina; Catholic News Agency, Apr. 12, 2006

The second thing is to actually question the so-called “fact-checkers” who are little more than political arms of the same propaganda machine (usually by conveniently omitting facts). Third is to not be silenced into cowardice by the ominous power of political correctness.

Do not love comfort. Do not be cowards. Do not wait. Confront the Storm to save souls. Give yourself to the work. If you do nothing, you abandon the earth to Satan and to sin. Open your eyes and see all the dangers that claim victims and threaten your own souls. —Jesus to Elizabeth Kindelmann, The Flame of Love, pg. 34, published by Children of the Father Foundation; Imprimatur Archbishop Charles Chaput

Keep in mind that the popes are well aware how the media is being used as an instrument of deception, and they have not been remiss to point it out.[2]

There is another explanation for the rapid diffusion of the Communistic ideas now seeping into every nation, great and small, advanced and backward, so that no corner of the earth is free from them. This explanation is to be found in a propaganda so truly diabolical that the world has perhaps never witnessed its like before. It is directed from one common center. —POPE PIUS XI, Divini Redemptoris: On Atheistic Communism, n. 17

Hence, Our Lord’s warning is more relevant than ever:

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

But here again we have to realize the difference between human and Divine Wisdom. It is the latter so desperately needed today…

…the future of the world stands in peril unless wiser people are forthcoming. —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, Familiaris Consortio, n. 8

 

DRAWING NEARER TO JESUS

Divine Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It is given to those, ironically, who become “like children.” [3]

Wisdom opened the mouths of the mute, and gave ready speech to infants. (Wis 10:21)

And this is really the key: that we draw near to Jesus like little children, crawling upon His knee, letting Him hold us, talk to us, and strengthen our souls. This is a metaphor for several essential things for every Christian, but especially at this hour in the world…

 

I. Crawl upon His knee

To crawl upon Christ’s knee is to enter the confessional: it is there where Jesus takes away our sins, lifts us to a holiness we cannot reach on our own, and reassures us of His infinite love despite our weakness. I personally could not comprehend my life without this blessed Sacrament. It is through these sacramental graces that I have come to trust in the Lord’s love, to know that I am not rejected despite my failures. More healing and deliverance from oppression comes through this Sacrament than many realize. An exorcist said to me that “One good confession is more powerful than one hundred exorcisms.” 

Some Catholics are too ashamed to go to Confession or they go only once a year out of obligation—and that is the only real shame, for…

“…those who go to Confession frequently, and do so with the desire to make progress” will notice the strides that they make in their spiritual lives. “It would be an illusion to seek after holiness, according to the vocation one has received from God, without partaking frequently of this sacrament of conversion and reconciliation.” —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Penitentiary conference, March 27th, 2004; catholicculture.org

 

II. Let Him hold you

Prayer is the means by which we draw near to Jesus, to permit Him to hold us in His strong, healing arms. Jesus not only wants to forgive us—to have us upon His knee, so to speak—but to cradle us.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

I cannot say enough about how important personal prayer is; to be alone with Him, focused upon Him, loving and worshiping Him and praying to Him “from the heart.” Prayer should not be viewed as a set period where one simply recites words, though it may involve that; rather, it should be understood as an encounter with the Living God who desires to pour Himself into your heart and transform you by His power.

Prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2560

In this exchange of love, we are changed little by little from one glory to the next through the power of the Holy Spirit. Whatever sacrifices we have made through true conversion and repentance creates the space in our Hearts for God’s presence and graces (yes, there is no victory without the pain of the Cross). Where there once was fear there is now courage; where there once was anxiety there is now peace; where there once was sadness there is now joy. These are the fruits of a consistent prayer life united to the Cross.

Whoever then wishes to obtain wisdom must pray for it day and night without wearying or becoming disheartened. Blessings in abundance will be his if, after ten, twenty, thirty years of prayer, or even an hour before he dies, he comes to possess it. That is is how we must pray to obtain wisdom…. —St. Louis de Montfort, God Alone: The Collected Writings of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, p. 312; cited in Magnificat, April 2017, pp. 312-313

I gave a 40 day retreat on prayer that you can listen to or read here. But suffice it to say, if you have not been a praying person in the past, become one today. If you have put this off until now, then put it on tonight. As you carve out time for supper, carve out time for prayer.

Jesus is waiting for you.

 

III. Let Him talk to you

Just as a marriage or friendship cannot be one-sided, so too, we need to listen to God. The Bible is not only a historical reference but a living word.

Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Almost from the moment I could read, my parents gave me a Bible. The Lord’s Word has never left my side as my teacher and strength, my “daily bread.” So, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” [4] and “Be transformed,” said St. Paul, “by the renewal of your mind.” [5] 

 

IV. Let Him strengthen your soul

In this way, through Confession, prayer, and meditation on God’s Word, you may be “strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man.” [6] In this way, a sincere soul will steadily climb toward the peak of union with God. Consider, then, that…

The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1324

To draw near to the Eucharist is to literally draw near to Jesus. We ought to look for Him where He is!

…unlike any other sacrament, the mystery [of Communion] is so perfect that it brings us to the heights of every good thing: here is the ultimate goal of every human desire, because here we attain God and God joins himself to us in the most perfect union. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 4, www.vatican.va

As St. Faustina once said,

I would not know how to give glory to God if I did not have the Eucharist in my heart.Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, n. 1037

 

DRAWING NEAR TO MARY

In closing, I wish to return again to the initial thought on entering the Ark of Our Lady’s Heart. I have written extensively on this before, so I won’t repeat what you can find in the search engine above.[7] Suffice it to say that my experience and that of the Church is that the more one puts himself into this Mother’s hands, the closer she brings you to her Son.

When I made my first consecration to Our Lady after a thirty-three day preparation years ago, I wanted to make a small token of my love toward Our Mother. So I popped into the local pharmacy, but all they had were these rather pathetic looking carnations. “I’m sorry, Mama, but this is the best I have to give you.” I took them to the church, placed them at the feet of her statue, and made my consecration.

That evening, we attended the Saturday night vigil. When we arrived at the church, I glanced over to the statue to see if my flowers were still there. They weren’t. I figured that the janitor probably took one look at them and tossed them away. But when I looked to the other side of the sanctuary where the statue of Jesus was… there were my carnations perfectly arranged in a vase! In fact, they were decorated with “Baby’s Breath”, which weren’t in the flowers that I had bought.

Several years later, I read these words that Our Lady spoke to Sr. Lucia of Fatima:

He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and those souls will be loved by God like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne. —Blessed Mother to Sr. Lucia of Fatima. This last line re: “flowers” appears in earlier accounts of Lucia’s apparitions; Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words: Sister Lucia’s Memoirs, Louis Kondor, S.V.D., p, 187, Footnote 14

Mary was with Jesus until the very end when most everyone else’s courage failed. Who else would you want to be with during this Great Storm? If you give yourself to this Woman, she will give herself to you—and thus, give you Jesus for He is her life.

Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. (Luke 1:20)

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27)

If you find this Storm to be overwhelming, the answer isn’t to face it on your own strength, but rather, to draw nearer to Jesus with your whole heart. For what is about to assail the entire earth is beyond your strength and mine. But with Christ, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” [8]

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5)

 

RELATED READING

The Storm of Confusion

The Great Transition

Fake News, Real Revolution

The Spiritual Tsunami

Prayer Slows the World Down

Real Food, Real Presence

Prayer Retreat

The Refuge for Our Times

Writings on Mary

 

 

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  1. Matt 24:24[]
  2. cf. Fake News, Real Revolution[]
  3. Matt 18:3[]
  4. Col 3:16[]
  5. Rom 12:2[]
  6. Eph 3:16[]
  7. see also An Ark Shall Lead Them[]
  8. Philippians 4:13[]
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